The cream rose to the top when the Temora Motor Cycle hosted the inaugural staging of the Woodlands Grand Slam meeting over the weekend with Luke Richards emerging as the best of the best.
Last year saw Richards win three classes in Australian Championships in both dirt track and track racing, and while that probably entitled him to favourtism his success came only after two days of thrilling hard-fought racing.
Strangely, most of the former Australian champions competing in the meeting were making their first ever visit to the Temora track for what was the first national open meeting staged there in almost 30 years.
Richards, Marty McNamara and veteran Paul Caslick all got better as the weekend progressed each taking time to get their machine set-ups just right.
Even getting in to the A Final was tough with only the top eight after four rounds of heats being assured of a berth, while the last four berths were filled via a cut-throat repechage race.
Such was the intensity of the A Final each of the three legs was won by a different rider, with the likely outcome changing as often.
Experienced campaigners Mick Kirkness and Darren Herrick led the way in the first leg ahead of Richards and Caslick, before a dramatic moment in the second leg saw Herrick fall after part of his front brake collapsed and that brought down Kirkness as well.
Although Kirkness remounted he could only finish ninth as Richards and Caslick went to the top on points.
For Caslick to take the overall honours he needed to win the final leg, which he did, but he also needed at least one rider between him and Richards.
That scenario looked likely until McNamara crashed and Richards assumed second place and claim the overall honours, with Kirkness a deserving third overall.
Matthew Davies, who had been unbeaten in the heats, failed to reproduce that form in the A Final but did manage to finish fourth overall.
Teenagers Thomas Herrick, Ty Lynch and Max Croker won many fans with their performances against the elite opposition.
Ian Hamilton took some consolation for missing a berth in the A Final when he won the B Final.
Two riders stood out in the supporting senior events with last year‰Ûªs dual Under 19 Australian champion Ty Lynch making the trip from Adelaide worthwhile by winning both the Young Guns and Pro Open classes.
The presentation for the Pro Open was particularly memorable as Lynch stood atop the rostrum flanked by old stagers Darren Herrick and Caslick, the latter relating that his previous visit to race at Temora was back in the 1980s - well before Lynch was born.
Lynch also came second to Kirkness in the Pro 250 class.
Australian champions in both the dirt track sidecars and ATVs also came up trumps with Corey Banks / Tom Banks and Matthew Griffiths the respective winners.
Racing for the older riders and older machines, as well as the junior classes, also provided plenty of exciting action even with smaller fields.
Eleven different clubs were represented among all the class winners.
Particularly from the riders making their first appearance in Temora, the track, its facilities and all aspects of the organisation of the meeting by the Temora Club were praised.
Sounds like they might want to return ‰ÛÒ perhaps for the New South Wales Senior Dirt Track Championship scheduled for the weekend of October 8 / 9.
RESULTS OF WOODLANDS GRAND SLAM MEETING
Staged at the Woodlands Track, Temora (NSW) on March 19 and 20.
1. Luke Richards Honda (Singleton) 67pts
2. Paul Caslick Husky (Macleay District) 65
3. Michael Kirkness Yamaha (Macleay District) 57
4. Matthew Davies Honda (Wyalong) 46
5. Thomas Herrick Honda (Wyalong) 45
6. Marty McNamara Yamaha (Gunnedah) 44
7. Nicholas Waters Honda (Mildura) 43
8. Ty Lynch Yamaha (Mud&Tars, SA) 41
9. Max Croker Husky (StGeorge) 36
10. Alex Hurst Honda (Macleay District) 35
11. Ashley Wilesmith Honda (Temora) 26
12. Darren Herrick Honda (Wyalong)) 22